Look Up Service

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) provides a free Look Up Service for Members who are unable to visit the Research Centre in Newtownabbey.  The searches only apply to the following books in the Irish Section:

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Also some of the Other Records such as the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland (PHSI) envelopes of genealogical correspondence, Solicitors’ Material, Irish Directories and Who’s Who and the Index to journals and gravestone inscriptions from books and journals can prove fruitful.  In other words, we can search those records that are indexed. So books and journals for which we have an index can be searched but not an unindexed volume.  Where possible the indexes are being put online so please check those before asking for a search.

To use this service:

  • State your name and membership number – e.g. A0001 – in the Subject line of your email.
  • State which record set is to be searched: e.g. the PHSI envelopes or the shelfmark of the volume.
  • State which name is to be searched, listing alternative spellings.
  • If there are likely to be many results, provide as much information as possible to narrow the search.
  • E-mail your request to lookup@nifhs.org.

Please bear in mind the following:

  • Omitting your membership number will delay the processing of your request.
  • We have only a few volunteers available to do searches.
  • A volunteer might be in the Research Centre only once a week, or less frequently.
  • Often a surname will feature many times in the record set and it is not feasible to check them all.
  • Sometimes a PHSI envelope may contain a lot of correspondence about different families of the name and it is not feasible to summarise all of it.
  • Because of copyright law we cannot provide a verbatim copy of more than a short extract.

In the light of this:

  • Please limit your request to that which can be answered quickly and briefly.
  • Be as precise as you can about the family you are seeking – locality, dates, names, etcetera.
  • Check the “other names mentioned” in the specific PHSI envelope to help identify the right family.
  • Do not expect an immediate response.
  • Be prepared for the reply “There is too much information to summarise – please employ a professional genealogist”.

For example, when requesting a search of the PHSI envelopes one might ask “Do the McAfee envelopes relate to the family in the townland of Englishtown in the parish of Macosquin? If so, please summarise the information or put me in touch with the correspondent.”  This prevents the volunteer having to waste time dealing with the wrong family. Any photocopies that are required will be charged at 20p per A4 sheet.